Tragedy as baby in oxygen tank ordeal dies

Doctors who were treating the child say serious ailments afflicting the baby were the cause of death, and not negligence

Patna: A gravely il two-month-old baby, whose family had to carry him on foot from one hospital to another — with oxygen cylinder in tow — after being denied stretcher at a premier government hospital in Bihar, has died.


The infant died even before medical authorities could submit a probe report to the government, which ordered an investigation after video footage emerged of the baby fitted with an oxygen mask and being carried in the lap by his grandfather Rambabu Prasad.

The video, which showed other relatives carrying a large oxygen cylinder attached to the baby’s mask, went viral.

“He could not be saved despite being admitted to the premier hospital in the state,” the child’s uncle, Sunny Kumar, a resident of Chapra town, told the media on Tuesday.

The baby had been admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) on Thursday.

Doctors who were treating the child, however, said serious ailments afflicting the baby were the cause of death, and not the alleged negligence by health officials.

“The baby was suffering from pneumonia since birth and had even stopped breastfeeding. We worked on the best medical procedures and explored many other lines of treatment but sadly we couldn’t save him,” the head of the paediatrics department at PMCH, Dr Neelam Verma told the media on Tuesday.

The state government had on Friday ordered an inquiry after the TV footage showed a man carrying his seriously sick baby fitted with oxygen mask in arms with other relatives carrying oxygen cylinder after the hospital authorities refused to arrange for ambulance or stretcher for him.

While vowing to punish the health officials for their gross negligence, the government had formed a three-member committee comprising Dr Verma, head of the department of paediatrics, Dr Nigam Prakash Narayan and Dr Niharika to investigate the case.

Subsequently, the committee probed the matter and was scheduled to submit the report to the government on Wednesday. Sadly, the baby died even before the report could be handed to the government.

This is the second time in a week that alleged negligence on the part of the health officials has cost the life of patient in the state.

Last week, a middle-aged woman who was operated upon by health staffs in torchlight in a government hospital had met a similar fate. Footage of this incident also went viral on social media.

The victim identified as Ruby Devi, 45, had been admitted to a government hospital in Saharsa district last week after meeting with a deadly road accident.

Subsequently, she was operated upon in torchlight by heath officials as there was no power at the time of surgery.

Ultimately she died soon thereafter.

The woman, a government schoolteacher, had gone for morning walk along with her husband when the couple was hit by a speeding police jeep. While her husband died on the spot, the woman succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.

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